I’m a pragmatist. When I was a little kid, I had to get three allergy shots twice a week. Other kids would scream and cry and carry on, but I just went in and got them. They started using me as an example to the other children. If they left me alone for a second with the other kid, I’d always say, “Look, you might as well stop crying – they’re going to give you the shots anyway, and the longer you cry, the longer you’re going to be here.” And that’s pretty much my attitude today. Things happen, and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do to stop them. Sometimes you can see those things coming. It doesn’t make them any easier to deal with, but it makes it easier to get past them.
I think that this is an important lesson – and it’s the thing I took away from Aoi Hana, Volume 2. Fumi, for all that she is a crybaby, appears to be a pragmatist. I deeply respect that.
(For a quick overview of the characters in this series and the events of the first volume, take a look at my review of Aoi Hana, Volume 1.)
Volume 2 of Aoi Hana covers the big event, when both schools get together for their stage version of Wuthering Heights. Yasuko-sempai is extra super cool as Heathcliffe, as expected. And, unexpectedly, she seems to really be making an effort to reach Fumi as a person, not just as a girlfriend. Then the other boot drops. I saw it coming (and so, I think, did Fumi) but when it came, it came in a way that completely lacked melodrama. And that, in a nutshell, is why I like this series so much. The characters are just as unsure of themselves as any teens, but there’s a distinct lack of shrieking and threats of suicide. In all honesty, when I read any book, part of what goes on in my mind is “Would I want to hang out with any of these people? Would I let anyone in this story come over for lunch? No one, not one character in Life would be allowed in my house – while just about everyone in Aoi Hana would.
Other stuff happens, of course. Akira remains cheerful and understanding, without ever being a sop. I don’t trust or like Kyouko, even if she seems to be a good person, for a few reasons. We meet Yasuko’s extremely interesting family, and learn Yasuko’s big secret, which isn’t one really, if you have more than one brain cell to rub together.
At the end of the volume, when everyone’s crying into their tea, I couldn’t find it in myself to be upset, or even annoyed. I felt a little lonely, maybe, but hopeful that much of what happened will be resolved in the next volume.
Art – 7
Characters – 8
Story – 7
Yuri – 8
Service – 1
Overall – 8
It’s drama, not melodrama.